Tag Archives: lamb shank

A totally different take on lamb shank…

Now, you KNOW I love lamb — and probably my favourite kind of lamb is lamb shank. There’s just something amazing about that super-tender meat that falls right off the bone… So, we’re hanging out at Silk Road, this funky Middle Eastern joint on Queen West, and I’m all in on the Shank Osmani, braised lamb slow cooked for 14 hours. This is not quite what I was expecting though:

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Now, even though this lamb isn’t baa-baa-baa-baa-bad to the bone, it’s still pretty tender, and pretty tasty, on a bed of labneh yogurt with some crispy onion strings on top. I do not regret ordering it — even if it was not what I thought it would be.

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Speaking of the unexpected, I was not expecting to see kalbi-style beef short ribs at a Middle Eastern joint, bro! They’re actually called Mongolian (not Korean) ribs, but they are quite tasty — nicely grilled and more tender than some Korean places. I just kinda wish they had put that green chili sauce on the side, cuz it was a little too spicy for me.

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But the surprises don’t stop there, son… While the menu mentions a Skyward Ontario IPA from Avling Brewery, this is in fact a Calm Sea Ontario Pale Ale. Which is the same brewery, and same style, but not quite the same beer. Didn’t stop me from chugging a few of these, though, bro!!!!!

TORONTO’S TOP TAKEOUT: Thai lamb curry in a bit less of a hurry…

I dunno guy, but it seems like every time I order from Uber Eats, it takes about an hour for my food to get here. OK, so I’ve only ordered from them a couple times since this latest lockdown started…but both times, it took almost an hour. And the last two times before that took over an hour, too. Whatever happened to 30 minutes or it’s free, bro???

Anyways, after three failed attempts to redeem a Chinese New Year’s discount code with Skip the Dishes (I picked from the “featured restos” and ordered the right amount of food, but for some reason the code wasn’t eligible!!!???) I ended up opting for an Uber Eats offer where you save a lucky 8 dollars when you order 30 bucks or more — from certain participating restaurants. First one that popped up with Isaan Der, this funky little Thai joint at Queen and Broadview. I’m always down to try some Thai, so when I saw the Lamb Shank Massaman Curry, I knew it was heading straight down my piehole…some 53 minutes later. (Hey, at least I can start going back to restaurants tomorrow?)

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Now, as much as I love lamb, I would not put this down as one of my top 10 lamb dishes. (Especially not after coming back from Iceland, where they put lamb in everything!) The meat here was NOT fork tender or fall-off-the-bone — despite what it says on the menu, I definitely needed a fork and knife to get in there. As for the curry, I ordered mine mild, since I’ve had some mild Thai food before that was still pretty spicy… but at this place, mild really means mild; there was no heat at all. Well, except for the fact that I paid $1.50 for a container of fresh chilies to bump my order up to 30 bucks. Those babies really kicked it up a notch! And I didn’t realize this dish already came with rice, which is also sold separately, so I ended up with two kinds of rice — sticky AND jasmine. But hey, I can use that extra rice, as well as some of that leftover curry sauce, for dinner the next day… so it’s all good in the hood, bro!!!

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Now, Thai food is often served with a lighter, crisp lager — most typically Tiger Beer, when tends to be my go-to at Asian restaurants that don’t have many beers to choose from. But this heavier curry calls for a richer brew like Doc Perdue’s Bobcat, a West Coast Red Ale from the fine folks at Cowbell Brewing Co. (You KNOW I need more Cowbell, bro!!!!!) You get a nice, malty flavour that takes the heat off those side chilies without being too heavy at 5.5%. Plus, it’s named after some dude’s pet bobcat, which is pretty badass…

GRAND REOPENING: Irish lamb shank in Greektown!!!

Now, whenever we hit the Danforth, we’re usually looking for Greek food — like gyros, seafood, or maybe some Greek poutine. But there’s this other funky joint, right next to the Danforth Music Hall, that’s been serving up craft beer and local fare since 1987 — they’ve got 4 full chalkboards of beers at Allen’s, so you KNOW this is my kinda place, bro!!!

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We’re starting off with a Lemon Shapeshifter, this strong, citrusy sour from Halo Brewery. You definitely get the puckery taste of lemons here, along with a little sweet hint of vanilla. I’m not sure I would order more than one of these, though…

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Now, even though we’re not eating Greek, I’m still in the mood for lamb. This Dublin Lamb Shank is braised in Guinness, and served with potatoes and gravy — dude, this is body by potatoes and gravy! It was not the most tender lamb I’ve ever tasted (that would be Estiatorio Volos, which actually is NOT on the Danforth), but I still ate every last bit of it, so, y’know, it was pretty tasty.

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Of course, I can’t go to a place with 140 beers and only order just one. This Drip Drip sour ale from Fairweather in Hamilton is a lot more fruity, with a strong taste of black currant, and a nice little kick of lime at the end. I liked this beer better than the other one…

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But you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, and I’ve got three words for ya: Chocolate Guinness Cake, son! This thick ‘n heavy slice is topped with sour cream, and somehow includes Guinness in the recipe…cuz there’s no such thing as too much Guinness!!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: We be lambin’, mon!

So, we’re hanging out at Bymark, this funky joint in the Financial District. When I was here last summer, we ate underground, but now we’re taking advantage of their swanky courtyard patio…and their righteous summer menu, son!

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So, we’re starting off with lobster poutine, which is one of my favourite kinds of poutine. Fries are ridiculously crispy, you’ve got some nice, big chunks of lobster, and a classic Bearnaise sauce on top. Now, technically it’s not a poutine — where’s the cheese curds, bro? — but definitely some of the best lobster Bearnaise fries I’ve ever had!!!

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Now, speaking of things that are a little unusual… I’ve totally had some real-deal jerk chicken before, and a whole lotta lamb shanks, but this jerk lamb shank was definitely a first. I was worried that it might be spicy, but it really wasn’t. Braised meat was super-tender, and you’ve got some stuff on the side that I don’t normally eat, like quinoa and lima beans. But if you put it on the plate with lamb, I’m gonna make it disappear, bro!!!

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Now for dessert, we’re kicking it up another notch with some creme brulee donuts! These creamy little Timbits come with a side of salted caramel and some walnut pralines for that added crunch. This might be the funkiest dessert I’ve had since we came outta lockdown, son!!!!

Lamb shank with a side of mac ‘n cheese, son!!!

Now, when the weather outside is frightful, I like to chow down on some go-to comfort food. You KNOW that I love lamb even more than Steve Carell, and mac ‘n cheese is probably my favourite side dish… So, we’re hanging out at The Queen and Beaver, this friendly neighbourhood English pub just offa Yonge St, and I’m like, why not do both???

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Now I’ve ordered lamb shank many times, many ways…but I don’t think I’ve seen it served with mashed squash before — it’s like culinary baby food in Flavourtown! And they’ve also got a whole lotta lentils, which is like the most green stuff I ate all month… But you KNOW the best side dish is yet to come, bro!!!!

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Now, I wouldn’t consider mac ‘n cheese to be your typical British pub food…but this British pub does a pretty decent take. Mac is nice ‘n creamy, with a crunchy breadcrumb crust — it’s a real culinary tongue-twister in Flavourtown!!!!

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Now, after tearing through that culinary mac-stravaganza, I actually wasn’t gonna order dessert…but then they sold me on the sticky toffee pudding. Their version uses molasses instead of caramel, for that extra richness — and there’s plenty of extra sauce. I’d put that on a flip-flop!!!!

SUMMERLICIOUS 2019: Real-deal lamb dinner @ Volos

So, Summerlicious ends on Sunday, and we’re going out in style at this fancy Greek joint, Estiatorio Volos, just a Rob Ford backpedal away from City Hall. Now, you KNOW I love lamb, bro, so when I saw they had lamb shank, I was all over that like a Fun Guy on the Greek Freak!!! But Greece is also known for seafood, so we’re starting off with some grilled octopus:

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This crunchy creature of the sea is the one that I want, do-do-do! (Wait, wrong Grease…) Nice, lemony chew to the octopus, with a bit of bite from the black olives, a couple pieces of red pepper and some arugula. Hey, if you put arugula underneath an octopus, I guess I’ll eat it…

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But now it’s time for the main event. Dude, this was probably the most tender lamb I’ve ever had — it falls off the bone, pulls apart with a fork AND melts in your mouth, bro! You’ve got a nice bed of mashed potatoes, some braised greens, and then these crispy leeks on top…man, I could eat that for breakfast, lunch and dinner!!!!

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For dessert, we’ve got an Ouzo chocolate mousse, with strawberries, blueberries and Ouzo-infused Chantilly cream. Now, this little mousse scoop was quite tasty, but after that massive chocolate cake at Piano Piano, it felt like I was ordering off the kid’s menu!

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Washed it all down with a Volkan Blonde, this Greek wheat beer that they’ve got on tap. I guess they’re not pros at pouring beer, cuz that’s a whole lotta head for such a small glass, bro!!!

$33 freeky Greek feast @ Pan on the Danforth

Everybody in Toronto knows that the Danforth is the place to go if you want some real-deal Greek food. And I’m definitely no stranger to the area. Whether it’s the BBQ quail and Greek fries at Astoria, the four-pack of lamb chops at Mezes, or the bitter balls at Borrel…OK, so that last one’s Dutch, but my point is there is plenty of great grub in Greektown.

Now, I’ve heard that one of the best, most authentic Greek joints in this city is Pan on the Danforth, but I’d never been there before. It can be hard to get a table sometimes, cuz they’re packing ’em in for their Panlicious Dinner–three courses for 33 bucks, bro!!!

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So, we’re starting off with some lightly breaded, deep-fried calamari, so hot you gotta wait a couple minutes before you pick ’em up. Lemme tell ya, there are few things I love more than deep-fried squid, and these squid are too legit to quit!

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But you know that was just the first course in Flavourtown! We’re moving on to the braised lamb shank, which is my go-to at Jimmy the Greek…but this one’s, like, 10 times better! The melt-in-your-mouth meat falls off the bone and slides straight down my piehole, while the orzo pasta in a tomato broth is like risotto gone “Opa!” (Smashing plates not included.)

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Now, I kinda hate to admit this, but I actually did NOT have room for dessert. So I had to get this piece of Greek ravani cake to go. The sweet semolina with syrup on top, some chopped almonds and blueberries still tasted good for breakfast the next day, though!!!